One of my favorite fall activities with my kids is picking apples. I choose a cool but sunny day, put on our boots, and bring our baskets. The kids enjoy pulling ripe apples from the branches as they run between the trees. Of course, we all sample some of the loot! Apples are so big that it doesn’t take long to fill our basket, unlike picking berries, which can be tedious work. Our favorite farm also sells hot donuts and cider, so a sweet treat is an added bonus.

Picking any kind of produce is a great opportunity to talk about where our food comes from (before it gets to the grocery store shelf), how farms function, and how hard people work to grow our food. You can also give a brief science lesson about how plants, like apple trees, use sunlight, rain and nutrients from the soil to grow and produce fruit.

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At home, we fill a produce drawer in the fridge with apples and use them throughout the fall for school

I love chai and I love apple butter. Here’s a recipe from Eating Well magazine that I can’t wait to try this fall! Its super simple and I know it will make the house smell amazing! Adjust the spices and sweetness to your liking.lunches and snacking. Many varieties will keep a couple of months in cold storage, and I usually have them around until just before Christmas! The ones that won’t fit in the fridge or have small bruises (that might cause the other apples to spoil) find homes in various recipes, like dehydrated apple chips, apple butter or a crock pot apple cake that I fell in love with last fall. You can even string dehydrated apples on twine and use them to decorate your house!

 

Slow-Cooker Chai Apple Butter

2 ½ pounds apples, peeled and sliced (choose a more acidic variety like a McIntosh)

⅓ cup dark brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 hours on high.

Set the lid ajar and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are broken down, about 2 hours more. For chunky apple butter, enjoy as is. For smooth apple butter, puree in a food processor or blender.

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